There is need to explore and exploit non-traditional solutions to a wide range of systemic healthcare delivery challenges focussing on quality, accessibility and cost issues, Anupriya Patel, Minister of State, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, said at an ASSOCHAM event held in New Delhi today.
New initiatives have been taken in terms Electronic Health Records (EHS), telemedicine, use of mobile technology and apps for health delivery, teaching, etc. We need to innovate and adopt newer and more cost effective solutions for meeting the challenges that we face, said Patel while inaugurating an ASSOCHAM Conference on 2nd MEDCON 2017.
With the objective of ensuring the rights, safety and well-being of clinical trial participants and facilitating ease of doing business, transparent and objective procedures have been specified for clinical trials and functioning of ethics committees. An extensive exercise has been undertaken to refine the regulatory framework for medicinal products. This has been done with a view to provide a transparent, predictable and objective regulatory framework that will ensure quality, safety and performance of medical devices and also the ease of doing business. Medical devices specific rules, broadly based on international practices, have been notified for regulating their import, manufacture, sale and clinical investigation in the country.
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Innovative models including PPP in diagnostics, PM’s dialysis Programme, Ambulance Services, MMUs, biomedical equipment manufacture are being implemented across the country.
The introduction of hub and spoke model for lab diagnostics, tele-radiology, CT Scan/MRI services in PPP mode where government pays for the poor and support for point of care diagnosis are other important initiatives taken by the government, said Patel.
The area most impacted by technology is undeniably information, which has made significant contributions in medical technology industry. In the Indian context, the critical barriers to accessing healthcare in India include a lack of disease awareness, screening, diagnosis, referrals, trained doctors and funding.
“Therapy penetration is very low even amongst patients who can afford it. Although, there is a new generation of pacemakers, stents, insulin pumps, drug injecting pumps, etc. available and affordable, field research indicates there is low awareness about these new medical products and services even amongst physicians. There is also a lack of awareness of diagnostic tools and the low affordability of treatment”.
The availability of diagnostic facilities at district hospitals and other healthcare facilities, use of technology, rolling out of dialysis in those hospitals with over 10 lakh dialysis sessions, etc. are some of the other important areas where technology is being used extensively by the Government of India under the National Health Mission.
India is known as the pharmacy of the world. However, its role in new drug discovery and drug innovations including bio-pharmaceuticals and bio-similars is limited. The medical devices sector is yet to take off especially in high technology areas, said Patel.
Advanced medical technologies have the potential to improve the preventive, promotive, curative, palliative and rehabilitative services. “In my view, innovation is necessary to overcome the seemingly intractable problems that have undermined healthcare delivery for decades across the globe. It has now become a necessity and is no longer an option. The reach of technological innovation continues to grow, changing all industries as it evolves. In healthcare, technology is increasingly playing a role in almost all processes, from patient registration to data monitoring and from lab tests to self-care tools,” Patel added.
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C.K. Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, said India has recently rolled out new national health policy 2017 which reflects a paradigm shift in healthcare delivery from sick care to preventive, promotion, palliative, rehabilitative healthcare.
“This is possible only with advance medical technologies. Many innovations and advancements have been made in pharmaceuticals, medical devices and services. Technological innovations are no longer an option but have now become a necessity. We need to not just increase innovation, but make it more suited to our indigenous needs, and at the same time increase levels of community awareness because that is a critical barrier to accessing affordable healthcare in India”, said Mishra.